Rtd Judge Mark Sevua has requested the Registrar of the Supreme Court to cite Paga Hill Development Company principal, Gummi Fridrikkson and Liria for contempt, together with Land Board Chairman and Lands Dept Secretary. This is for their part in dealing with the Reclaimed Land at Paga Hill while a Supreme Court case was still before the Court.
The name parties are alleged to have all colluded and awarded the Reclaimed Land to ANDAYAP NO 5 LTD, a company owned by PHDC with Liria as Director and Fridikkson as Secretary.
No advertisement of the land was done in contravention of Section 69 Land Act which mandatorily requires all state lease to be advertised and therefore the process was illegal.
The Reclaimed Land is now part of a new Portion 3149 granted to Andayap No 5 Ltd on 4 June 2014 – about 3 weeks before the Supreme Court gave its judgment on SCA 18 on 1 July 2014.
The former Judge says It is obvious that PHDC failed to disclose its dealings of the Reclaimed Land to the Supreme Court:
Is this country being sold by its own people???
Why are the authorities allowing these dishonest and corrupt people to destroy the lives of our ordinary citizens like the residents of the Reclaimed Land at Paga Point with impunity?????”
JUDGE MARK SEVUA Rtd
On Tuesday morning, 22 July 2014; NCDC Officials with the assistance of armed Police, Paga Hill Development Company and Curtain Bros demolished the SDA Church located at Paga Point together with the shelters of the Settlers on the Reclaimed Land below Paga Hill at Paga Point. The demolition and destruction of the Church and the Settlers’ shelters were carried out without any consideration of human dignity and the interest and welfare of the affected citizens. This is a blatant violation of the Constitution!! !!!!
It is quite amazing that a person of the calibre of Powes Parkop, the NCD Governor, who used to be describe himself as a champion of “Human Rights” could authorise his employees and henchmen to destroy the Church and the Settlers’ life with the use of armed police, without any human consideration at all. I only wish that the three World War 2 bombs had exploded that day and destroy all those involved in the destruction of this area!!!!!!!!!!!
Where was NCDC when this area was filled by extracted rocks and soil from the Burns Peak Poreporena Freeway construction in the late 70s????? When did NCDC declare the Reclaimed Land at Paga Point to be “Part Commercial, Part Public Utilities and Part Open Space” ????? If NCDC claims title to the Reclaimed Land, why did it not prevent the Settlers from moving onto the Reclaimed Land from the start, when the area was filled????????
These citizens have been residing on this Reclaimed Land for many years without interference by any authority. The eviction exercise initiated by Paga Hill Development Company was wrong in the first place. Even the National Court Order to give vacant possession of Portion 1597 including the Reclaimed Land was also wrong. As determined by the Supreme Court on 1 July 2014, such order given by the National Court on 29th January 2014 excludes the area known as the Reclaimed Land. The reason is simple- Portion 1597 did not, does not, and never include the Reclaimed Land. Up to today, some Settlers are still residing on the Reclaimed Land under sun, wind and cold because they have nowhere to go. The destruction of their homes was done in haste and without affording them ample opportunity to relocate. NCDC headed by the so called “Human Rights” lawyer and Governor Powes Parkop must be held accountable for their employees’.actions, especially when there is a Supreme Court Order in place. I therefore call on the Governor of NCO, Curtain Bros, Paga Hill Development Company and the Police to compensate these Settlers who have fallen victims of the unconstitutional breaches by all those concerned. These Settlers are simple people, some unemployed, but they are nevertheless human beings and they deserved to be treated with human dignity.
It is ironic and quite sarcastic and stupid for Gudumundur Fridriksson to deny his company’s involvement when the Settlers have seen and identified Stanley Liria in company with NCDC and Curtain Bros employees in the area since the Supreme Court decision. The Settlers may be just ordinary people, but they are not stupid, and they know who Stanley Liria is.
I would suggest that the Settlers’ Lawyer should file contempt of court proceedings against Stanley Liria and his company and the others who have been involved in this destruction. Contempt of the Supreme Court Order is a very serious matter and hopefully the Supreme Court will deal with those who think they are smarter than the Supreme Court.
I condemn in the strongest terms possible the inhuman and unconstitutional treatment these ordinary Papua New Guineans have suffered at the hands of NCDC, Police, Curtain Bros and Paga Hill Development Company. I also condemn the unlawful use of threats and violence by armed policemen who behave as if they are above the law. They behave like armed criminals and
I call on Geoffrey Vaki and Jim Andrews to stop their armed thugs policemen from getting onto the sides of private companies and NCDC and to stop harassing unarmed civilians. Finally, I call of NCO Governor, Powes Parkop to apologise to the Settlers and compensate them for the damages inflicted on them through his employees. As a champion of human rights cause, he should be accountable for the abuse and breaches of human rights his employees had rendered to these simple innocent Papua New Guineans and o the right thing by these people who continue to suffer from the unconstitutional violations.
It is now 403 days since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was told that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be revoked.
It was on June 24, 2013 that he was given the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry which detail the widespread fraud and mismanagement used by foreign logging companies to gain illegal access to over 5 million hectares of land.
O’Neill has promised to cancel the leases and stop the illegal logging several times.
In September 2013 O’Neill told Parliament:
“We will no longer watch on as foreign owned companies come in and con our landowners, chop down our forests and then take the proceeds offshore”
For 403 days O’Neill has failed to act on the Commission of Inquiry findings, failed to revoke the SABL leases and been complicit in the illegal logging of forest resources by foreign logging companies.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.
International State Crime Initiative
A British based human rights research centre, the International State Crime Initiative, has raised concerns over the contradictory state-corporate response to the recent demolition exercise at Paga Hill.
The exercise left hundreds homeless, in addition to destroying WWII relics and a Seven-day Adventist Church.
It took place amidst multiple disputes over land at Paga Hill, an area which is currently earmarked for a ring road, in addition to a luxury real-estate project spearheaded by the Paga Hill Development Company.
ISCI researcher, Dr Kristian Lasslett, notes ‘this egregious demolition exercise appears to be something of an orphan. Governor Parkop has eschewed responsibility for the destruction, while the Paga Hill ring road contractor, Curtain Brothers, also denies involvement. So who then is responsible for vandalising priceless historical artefacts and destroying family homes?’
ISCI notes matters get even more confusing when attention is drawn to the legal status of the land on which the demolition took place.
‘For years the community at Paga Hill has contested an eviction order obtained by the Paga Hill Development Company. Those families living in lower Paga argue that their homes lie on reclaimed land outside the developer’s state lease. On the first of July this year, the Supreme Court made an order supporting the community’s argument’.
However, according to Dr Lasslett, ‘back in 2013 it appears that this reclaimed land was somehow surveyed and registered as Portion 3149 in Survey Plan Cat No.49/3107. Then in January this year the Land Board recommended that a Special Purpose Lease over the disputed land be awarded to Andayap No.5 Limited, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Paga Hill Development Company. This arrangement was formalised in a gazettal notice dated the 4th of June 2014’.
ISCI questions why the Supreme Court was not alerted to this arrangement given its direct relevance to the community’s appeal.
‘Even when responding to the 1st of July Supreme Court decision, PHDC failed to mention that it had acquired title over the reclaimed land’, Dr Lasslett observes.
‘Instead, we were lead to believe that only the NCDC and Curtain Brothers had a tangible interest. The community at Paga Hill are devastated. They can’t understand how land the subject of a Supreme Court hearing, could be leased out by the government to the respondent in the case, without the appellant being alerted’.
Dr Lasslett adds, ‘we note that the Paga Hill Development Company has condemned both the NCDC and Curtain Brothers for organising the demolition exercise. Yet the company has not explained how this demolition could occur on land it owns, without PHDC’s knowledge, nor have they denied organising an identical style demolition on the exact same portion of land – which at that stage they did not own – in May 2012. Their chutzpah is extraordinary’.
According to the NCDC some of those left homeless by the most recent exercise have been relocated to a small plot of state land at Gerehu Stage 6. One relocated resident informed ISCI, ‘its not OK, no toilets, no power, no water, no houses and it’s not safe’.
Dr Lasslett notes, ‘some families have been abruptly shunted off to land at 6-Mile and Gerehu by PHDC and the NCDC respectively, with promises of security. Yet it appears they have no enforceable tenure rights to either plot of land, and now live in a terminal state of uncertainty, without anything resembling adequate housing’.
Appendices – Documents Relating to Supreme Court action and land Portion 3149
By Radio Australia PNG correspondent Liam Cochrane
Police in Papua New Guinea have charged lawyer Paul Paraka with an additional 32 corruption-related offences, bringing the total alleged fraud to more than $AU100 million.
Anti-corruption investigators allege the PNG Government paid millions of dollars to Paul Paraka Lawyers for inflated or invented legal cases.
Mr Paraka was arrested last year over 18 alleged offences and now police have added another 32 charges of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering and misappropriation.
The total amount allegedly defrauded by Paul Paraka is around $AU102 million.
The case has embroiled PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who is alleged to have authorised some of the payments.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Mr O’Neill.
PNG’s Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki is refusing to enforce the arrest, sparking multiple legal challenges and a split within the police force
Paul Paraka was arrested and charged this afternoon [Friday] by the Fraud and Anti-Corruption unit.
His arrest is in relation to fraudulent payments made to his law firm. His law firm received 162 million kina through fraudulent means.
He was arrested and charged with stealing by false pretense, conspiracy to defraud the state, money laundering and misappropriation of public funds.
He has been brought to the Boroko Police Station and will be released on bail.
Mr. Paraka will appear at the Committal Court in Waigani on Monday.
Director Fraud and Anti-Corruption Mathew Damaru told the media there are more people expected to be arrested and charged.
Whilst the legitimacy of the Task Force Sweep team is before the courts, arrests related to ongoing investigations into the Paraka saga, are continuing.
Mister Damaru said more arrests will be made in coming weeks.
Following the recent drama over the arrest warrant against the prime minister, the court-reinstatement of Task Force Sweep has not deterred, what has been described, as the wheels of justice turning.
International State Crime Initiative
British human rights research centre, the International State Crime Initiative, has condemned the demolition exercise at Paga Hill on Tuesday.
According to local residents over twenty homes were destroyed, leaving hundreds homeless, in a demolition exercise that was organised by the National Capital Distinct Commission (NCDC), with the aid of heavily armed police officers.
Also demolished during the exercise was a Seven Day Adventist Church, and historic WWII relics.
‘It is extraordinary, these people have endured so much, they have been bashed, terrorised, and intimidated by police, over a period of two years, now this’, ISCI’s Dr Kristian Lasslett observes.
‘This demolition is in clear violation of the UN guidance on development induced evictions and deserves to be condemned as such’.
Dr Lasslett also notes:
‘on the 2nd of July Paga Hill residents won their appeal in the Supreme Court, declaring they were exempt from an eviction order obtained by the Paga Hill Development Company. At the moment it is entirely unclear what legal authority the NCDC were acting under and whether it is in contravention of the Supreme Court order – but what we do know is that residents took every step to alert the NCDC and police to the Supreme Court order’.
Dr Lasslett continues:
‘at the very minimum the community would require 45 days notice, and a relocation strategy that clearly meets a number of basic human rights standards. And, of course, then there is the issue of the sacred cultural site and historical artefacts, which were destroyed during Tuesday’s demolition exercise’.
Dr Lasslett adds:
‘it shouldn’t be forgotten that the NCDC has conducted this demolition only after the community’s leader, Joe Moses, was forced into hiding when NCD police launched a man hunt against him, under what appears to be spurious charges’.
In response to the demolition, the International State Crime Initiative has produced an open letter signed by leading global human rights scholars, and PNG NGOs, calling on the national government to launch an independent inquiry into the Paga Hill episode.
The letter also raises questions over the current luxury real estate project being developed by the Paga Hill Development Company (PHDC). It notes:
‘PHDC’s CEO, Gudmundur Fridriksson, has run companies censured in four major government investigations in Papua New Guinea, which are catalogued in two Auditor General’s Office reports and four Public Accounts Committee reports. Allegations include obtaining illegal consultancy contracts, corruption, the wrongful certifying of government payments, unaccounted funds, and excessive fees, which have evidently netted the companies concerned many millions of Kina’.
According to Dr Lasslett, ‘the case of Paga Hill is emblematic of a broader trend, where local communities are facing forced evictions, implemented through violence, by actors whom have often obtained the land through land transactions with a question mark over them’.